Blog #5 Goffman

The concept that I found most interesting when learning about Goffman’s theories was his idea of a stigma. Goffman defines a stigma as an attribute that depending on the circumstances may be very discrediting. Not only do stigmas discredit ourselves but they also contribute to how we classify others as well. I relate to the concept of stigmas and negative stigmatization due to the fact that I am a member of Greek life here at Queens College. Similar to what one of my classmates had mentioned in class, bearing Greek letters on our clothing subjects us to negative stigmas very frequently. For example, a few of my sorority sisters and myself were recently apartment hunting. We made a conscious effort not to reveal our involvement in Greek life during the search because we knew that the stigma of Greek life would count negatively against us. Although we are all goal oriented students, our Greek letters would have immediately labeled us as the “party animal” Greeks to any perspective landlords. I enjoyed learning about Goffman because many of his concepts were very easy to relate to in today’s society and real life situations such as this one.

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5 responses to “Blog #5 Goffman

  1. I can completely understand how you feel about hiding the labels of Greek letters so people won’t judge you wrong. Every culture or groups have there own stigmas that can discredit you if you were to appear as one. I am Dominican and i know that a lot of people think that we are very loud at all times. People tell me that i look Dominican once they see me and i know they feel I must have a loud mouth because of my appearance.

  2. It is sad that we judge people without fully knowing a situation based on stigma. I think stigma is natural to human beings so its just something we need to learn to deal with. I also understand why you would want to hide your greek letters because of the stereotype that goes along with sorority girls, but just because someone is part of a sorority does not make them a party animal.

  3. I agree that most of the time we want to hide what we are labeled for, specially if displaying it makes it difficult to acquire something we want or need. I absolutely underestand hidding something people view as negative in order to pass. I am hispanic but depending on what I wear and how I do my hair, people confuse me with being from the Middle East. When living in a predominantetly white area, where hispanics have a “bad reputation” and are viewed as trouble makers, I often found myself not clearing people’s idea of me being from the middle east, since they had much more acceptance in the neighborhood. I found myself not curling my hair oftern because of it. I can gladly say however, that I have gain a much wider and clear perspective on what race, racism, stigma and labels truly represent and being labeled and or stigmatized does not face me nearly as much as it used to. I think that once you gain a clear understanding of who you truly are, not refering to race and what society think of you but “YOU” as a human being, it doesn’t matter where you come from or what letters you carry or represent, labels to you, will just be something you learned about in SOC 331 and something society uses to oppress.

  4. You know what’s so funny? I was talking to my cousin from Texas who is a sister of Delta Delta Delta sorority. The way they view Greek life there, in the South, is completely different than the stigma that’s associated with our letters here. I’ve gotten so many fish-eyed looks from professors when I wear my sorority letters. One time, I had to do an impromptu speech in front of my Music Ed class, and I happened to have been wearing letters that day. My professor rudely announced to the class that my shirt was “inappropriate” and that I “shouldn’t wear that next time for class.” Can you believe that? My cousin is lucky because in Texas, professors actually encourage their students to want to join an organization. They view having Greek letters as a sign of esteem; a respectable title.

    It’s a real shame, because I truly love Delta Phi Epsilon and everything my sorority stands for. I’m so proud and thankful for everything I’ve learned and for all of the opportunities that have come my way because of it.

  5. I very much agree with you and what Angela have said about this stigma. I have done the same and hid my greek affiliations when it came to my classes. Now that I’m entering the job market, I do careful research on who I am sending my resume to. If I find that they have greek affiliations then I will proudly flaunt my accomplishments in my cover letter and resume. If I do not find any affiliation then I don’t make any mention of my sorority. I will wear my pin to an interview because if they are Greek they will notice it quickly and if they are not they just think its a piece of jewelry. Its alot easier to reveal my true identity to some one who understands because they know the positives, while those who aren’t affiliated I fear they only know the negatives and it can effect my chances to a job.

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